DUEL BETWEEN THE FIRST IRONCLADS 1975 FIRST EDITION
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THE FAMOUS CIVIL WAR BATTLE AT SEA BETWEEN THE UNION IRONCLAD MONITAR AND THE CONFEDERACY'S VIRGINIA, THE REDESIGNED AND REBUILT U.S.S. MERRIMACK.
yellow in the Roads, fire leaping high into the air around what appeared to be burning masts and spars. A United States frigate of war was engulfed in flames.3 Whatever had happened ahead there at Hampton Roads, it had been nearly a year in coming. Upon the evacuation of Norfolk, the remaining United States ships, chief among them the Cumberland and the Minnesota, had taken up their station in Hampton Roads near Fort Monroe, where they could block the passage in and out of the Roads of any
necessary to draw in the needed fresh air for the fires. Ramsay was having a great deal of trouble in keeping up steam. “Our ship was working worse and worse,” lamented Lieutenant Wood. The Confederates could take comfort, however, in the fact that the Monitor so far had done them very little damage aside from a few cracked plates on the casemate. In fact, some aboard could actually see where the enemy ironclad was missing her opportunities to deliver telling blows, perhaps fatal ones. In
as possible, he ran the Virginia ashore, and then began debarking the men. Since she was too far from shore for them to wade, the two ship’s boats had to go back and forth for hours before her three-hundred-odd men were safely off. Jones and Wood were the last to leave her, as they packed the inflammable cotton and other combustibles and set the powder trains. Midshipman Littlepage, before leaving, happened to see the ship’s flags lying out on the gun deck. Taking off his knapsack, he threw out
Iron-Clad Virginia,” Collections of the Virginia Historical Society, New Series, VI (1887), p. 201. 5. Eggleston, “Narrative,” p. 170; Norris, “ ‘Virginia,’ ” pp. 206–7; Wood, “First Fight,” p. 696. 6. Cline, “Ironclad Ram,” p. 244; Porter, Norfolk County, p. 359; Wood, “First Fight,” p. 696; Ramsay, “Interesting Data,” p. XVII; Ramsay, “Most Famous of Sea Duels,” p. 11. 7. William H. Parker, Recollections of a Naval Officer, 1841–1865 (New York, 1883), pp. 252–53. 8. James Keenan to Dear —–,
John F. Winslow, influential iron founders who were working with him in armoring his Galena. All three were men with a quick eye for profits, and all saw an opportunity in government adoption of the Ericsson plan. Since both of the manufacturers enjoyed friendly relations with the powerful Secretary of State, William Seward, they were able to get from him a letter of introduction to President Lincoln. On September 12, 1861, Bushnell saw the President. Lincoln, who had himself dabbled in nautical